Malaysians are made up of many cultures, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Malay and the latter is again subdivided into various cultures including those from Indonesia, i.e., Minangkabau, Bugis, Javanese, Sunda, Kalimantan and Pontianak, Mandaling, etc.
Recently, Malaysia gazetted as national heritage the Mandailing community’s Tor-tor dance and the Gordang Sambilan (nine great drumbeats). This has outraged some groups in Indonesia resulting in protests at the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta.
The protests worsened last Friday as several sections of the Malaysia Hall building were damaged by large stones hurled by about 50 rioters.
According to The Star/Bernama,
Non-governmental organisation Pancasila Youths, who earlier torched the Malaysian flag and hurled eggs in the compound of the Malaysian Embassy in Kuningan after Friday prayers, headed for Malaysia Hall in Jalan Hos Cokroaminoto, Menteng and began acting more violently.
At Malaysia Hall, they attacked a security guard, who sustained slight injuries, threw large stones and pieces of wood which shattered the warden's windows, apart from damaging the main gate and messing up the windows by hurling eggs.
The stones thrown by the rioters also damaged the front roof of Malaysia Hall.
Malaysia Information, Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, said every community was entitled to the freedom to adopt its culture of origin and the Tor-tor dance and gendang besar (great drum) were not owned by anybody, as stated in the Geneva Convention.
“The United Nations guarantees freedom to a community to adopt their original culture and way of life,” he said when commenting on the Indonesian media protest over his proposal to gazette the Mandailing’s dance and drumbeat as national heritage.
“The people of Malaysia, who inherited original cultures of the archipelago for decades and centuries, deserve to maintain their culture of origin.
Let's leave politics to the politicians and take a look at what the Tor-tor dance and the Gordang Sambilan (nine great drumbeats) are all about.
Tari tortor batak (Indonesian dance)
Traditional Drum of Mandailing Culture (GORDANG SAMBILAN)